Monday, September 25, 2017

Music Monday: On The Radio


Happy Monday everyone and welcome back to Music Monday! Let's share some songs we've been enjoying lately!  If you would like to play and I really hope you do, please see the rules and link up below.

Rules:

Every Monday share a few songs you've been enjoying lately.  It doesn't have to be a specific genre, new, or one of your favorites - just something you'd like to share with others.  If possible, share a music or lyric video of the song and your thoughts on the song(s), artist(s), and/or music video(s).

If you would like to participate in Music Monday, please join the link up by sharing your post's url.

This week I'm sharing two songs that I first heard on the radio a few weeks ago that I still haven't gotten tired of.  Every time I hear "Feel It Still" by Portugal. The Man (2017) and "Song #3" by Stone Sour (2017) I turn them up!  I'm definitely going to have to listen to more from these two!





Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Dark Intercept by Julia Keller (ARC) - Review


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I received this free ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Violet is the sixteen year-old daughter of the founding father New Earth and she has lived a life of prosperity, peace, safety, and comfort. Life is easy thanks in part to the Intercept, a crime prevention device that monitors your thoughts and emotions and can potentially use them against you in order to keep the peace for all on New Earth. When Danny, her long time crush gets into a dangerous situation down on Old Earth, Violet decides to secretly begin investigating. Her findings lead her to question everything she knows about Danny, her father, and the Intercept.

I was really looking forward to to reading The Dark Intercept by Julia Keller. Unfortunately, it didn't really work for me. This is actually one of those stories where I preferred the concept to the final execution. Basically, it's a YA sci-fi dystopian that deals with the issue of the state controlling your emotions and thoughts. Think 1984, except instead of Big Brother you have the Intercept. The Intercept monitors everything - if you try to commit a crime, it makes you relive your worst memory and feel all of emotions that went along with it. It's pretty effective that way at stopping crimes - and it's a government approved program. Sounds pretty intriguing, doesn't it? I was totally expecting something along the lines of 1984, Minority Report, and a dash of the Dementors from the Harry Potter series. The first half seemed fairly promising as it begins to set up our characters and the world although at a slower pace. By the end, though, I realized I wasn't invested in the characters and there's not enough development in the individuals, or when it building their relationships. I was also disappointed with the world-building of New Earth, the background on it and Old Earth, and the Intercept itself. Unfortunately, all of these are lacking as well - I should have had less questions regarding each by the time I made it through that rushed ending.

Overall, The Dark Intercept by Julia Keller has a lot of potential to be a good YA sci-fi dystopian in the vein of a couple of classics. It didn't quite work out for me as I felt there wasn't enough world building or character development to really be invested in the long run. You may want to try this series opener if you are looking for a YA novel with the flavor of 1984 or Minority Report. By the way, I have to admit that I was totally waiting for a cat nun to show up!



I read this ARC from September 21 - 23, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.  This novel is due to be released on November 7th.

Moonlighter (PULSE #2) by R.A. Crawford - Review



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I received a free ecopy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

The best-of-the-best crew of Moonlighter, the most cutting-edge ship in the PULSE fleet, has been tasked with locating a missing woman, the most important woman in the entire universe. Captain Zara and her crew will risk it all to bring her home. Stella, the newest addition to the crew and the only Human on-board, is still recovering from her grueling Trial. She has a lot to learn or she may end up losing her posting because the Moonlighter only accepts the best PUSLE has to offer. She's also going to have to come to terms with just how alien her fellow crewmates really are. Even though the Moonlighter and it's crew are the best of the best, this mission just might turn out to be too much for even them.

I'm so thrilled to be back in the world of PULSE. I read book one at the beginning of 2017 and I absolutely adored it. If you like, you can check out my review of book one, The Trial, here. Thanks again to R.A. Crawford to giving me this opportunity! Anyway, the second book in the PULSE series, Moonlighter, takes up immediately after the intense thrill ride that was The Trial. The sequel really changes the game and I loved every second of it. We're still following Stella every step of the way, but this time we're thrown into an entirely new setting with an all new alien cast of characters. We get to see a lot more of the interstellar PULSE universe than what we got to glimpse in book one.

Just like before I loved getting a good look at, through Stella's eyes, our broad cast. Each member of the crew really gets their moment to shine. How all of these different alien species have come together to work together on the ship and get things done is fascinating, although there may be a little friction here and there. I particularly enjoyed getting to know Rao sisters, one of whom is the most well-known PULSE soldiers and the other has been assigned to work with Stella. Finally, I also want to mention just how great the author is a writing action scenes in this series. It's all very visual and I was really on the edge of my seat quite a few time.

Overall, I highly recommend the PULSEseries. I'm so thrilled to have had the opportunity to try both of the novels in the series so far, The Trial and Moonlighter. It's definitely set the tone for my wonderful reading year. This novel ends well, but I would love to come back to this universe some day. I'm looking forward to R.A. Crawford's future projects. Thanks again!



I read this ebook from September 17 - 22, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York by Deborah Blum + 50/50 Friday

 



On Friday's I take part in three weekly link ups - The Friday 56, hosted by Freda's Voice, Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader, and 50/50 Friday is a new weekly link up and it is hosted by Carrie @ The Butterfly Reader and Laura @ Blue Eye Books.  For The Friday 56, you choose a book, a book you have just finished, a book you are about to start, your current read, and share a line or a few lines that grab you (but don't spoil anything) from page 56 or 56% of the way through the ebook.  Post it and share your post's url on Freda's most recent Friday 56 post.  As for Book Beginnings, you share the first sentence or so and your initial thoughts, impressions, or whatever else it inspires, and then link up your post's url with Rose City Reader.   Then, for  50/50 Friday, every week there's a new topic featuring two sides of the same coin - you share a book that suits each category and link up on the hosts blogs.


This week I'm spotlighting one of my current reads, a nonfiction book called The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York by Deborah Blum.  This is actually my seventh book for Fall 2017 Bookish Bingo - I'm really on the ball this time - and it fulfills the American History square.  Anyway, I'd seen this come through the library recently and it really caught my attention.  So far it's fascinating.

Beginning:

Until the early nineteenth century few tools existed to detect a toxic substance in a corpse.

56:

Alexander Gettler, tracking cyanide problems in New York, kept a list of accidental poisonings, such as those caused when someone with an open cut on a hand polished the family silver.  The exposure was low enough that most people, after becoming miserably sick, survived.

50/50 Friday: Author You'd Most/ Least Like To Meet


Least - E.L. James


Most - J.K. Rowling

Are you taking part in Fall Bookish Bingo this season?  What have you read for it so far?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog, and perhaps even commenting down below.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook (ARC) - Review



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I received this free eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Skye has given tarot card readings and has had psychic visions before, but they've always come easily enough seeing as they've all been faked. Now, though, her "visions" are helping the police find Paige, the missing daughter of a prominent local judge, but this time she has insider knowledge. The kidnapping was supposed to be easy - a harmless prank - that would earn her the money she desperately needs to move to NYC after graduation with her best friend. Things go south as Skye realizes that the people she's involved with are willing to kill to get what they want. She'll have to uncover their true identity before it's too late.

The Hanging Girl is the first novel that I've had the chance to read by Eileen Cook and I'm certainly glad that this novel was my jumping in point to her work. If you love a great YA mystery thriller with an unreliable narrator, I expect you'll really appreciate this story. Let me get this out of the way first: I didn't really like any of the characters presented here. That being said, I was absolutely hooked by by this intense and twisty thriller. I didn't want to look away in case I missed the next turn because just when you think you're starting to get things sorted out - bang - something comes along and totally changes the game.

Skye, our MC, isn't all that likable, but she is still a fascinating character to follow since she is pretty much a compulsive liar. If she thinks she can benefit from a lie, she's spinning stories to get what she needs. She also has a great memory for details and she's great at reading body language and facial expressions. Her mother, to put it lightly, is half out of it and very eccentric. She thoroughly believes in all sorts of spiritual types of things from reading auras to having psychic visions and she definitely doesn't set the best example for her daughter, or provide for her. To say the least, Skye has a crappy home life on top of everything else. The only bright spot in her life is Drew, her best friend, and really her only classmate who has been willing to put up with her. While I appreciated Drew's role, I wish it could have been a bit further beyond what end up getting. As much as I want to talk about some of the big twists, I won't spoil it for those of you that haven't had the opportunity to try this novel. Here's my forewarning: don't let your guard down because you've got some real doozies coming your way!

Overall, The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook is a new YA mystery thriller that is a roller coaster of twists and turns. If like me you have a soft spot for unreliable narrators and are looking for a YA Gone Girl-esque read, you need to try this novel and meet Skye. I will definitely be bumping Eileen Cook's 2016 release, With Malice, up my TBR list.



I read this eARC from September 18 - 21, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.  This novel will be released on October 3rd, 2017.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Fall TBR


Happy Tuesday and welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!  This week's topic is Books On My Fall TBR.  All of the books on my list this week are books that I already own and hope to read this fall.  Here we go - I think I have some great reading coming my way:








These Ruthless Deeds by Kelly Zekas and Tarun Shanker

Yesternight by Cat Winters

The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig

Ash and Quill by Rachel Caine

Phantom Pains by Mishell Baker

Have you tried any of these books yet?  If so, which do you think I should tackle first?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Murder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly Jones (ARC) - Review


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I received a free eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Annis Whitworth had always suspected that her father was a spy. When she learns of her father's sudden death and that all of his money has gone missing, she decides to follow in his footsteps as a spy and uncover the mystery of his murder. It makes perfect sense to her, but it doesn't make sense to England's top spymasters even though Annis has the rare ability to sew glamours - garments that can completely disguise the wearer. Annis has to create a double life for herself - Annis will live the quiet life with her respectable aunt and in disguise she'd become "Madame Martine", a London-based glamour artist with a magical dressmaking shop. That way she'll still be able to maintain her social standing, earn her own living, and follow the clues that her father left behind to solve his murder. It can't be much harder than successfully making it through the London social season, can it?

I've always enjoyed historical fantasy and Kelly Jones's Regency Era set mystery is no exception. I wasn't terribly blown away by the mystery element, but it has so much else going for it. I, for one, loved the getting to know our cast, the wonderful female friendship, the magical elements, and clever wit. I particularly liked that Annis, although clever and determined, still has a lot to learn about herself, her abilities, and the wider world. As much as I liked her, though, I really liked Millie, Annis's servant. Let's just say she's quite resourceful and has a lot of hidden depths. Plus, their friendship is empowering, supportive, and is totally goals worthy. I also have to admit, I liked the reveal about Annis's aunt - very cool. Finally, I was also hooked on what we got about Annis's magic. The glamour sewing scenes were some of my favorites. I really only wish we got to know more about the state of magic in the wider world of Regency England.

Overall, Murder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly Jones is a fun fantasy spy caper through Regency Era London. If you're a fan of historical fantasy such as These Vicious Masks by Kelly Zekas and Tarun Shanker, A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess, The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman, and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I have a feeling you'll also enjoy Kelly Jones's new release. I'm definitely looking forward to more from this author in the future.



I read this eARC from September 10 - 13, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.